HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Talks are circulating about our state's bicentennial celebration and how the coast will be involved. The 91st annual Hancock County Chamber of Commerce meeting centered around strategies to continue growth in the county.
"We've got billion dollar investments in our industrial areas, and we've got new housing developments coming in, lots of homes. Great place to live. We're still keeping it quaint, which makes it even better," said former president of the chamber Angelyn Treutel Zeringue.
According to Zeringue, one thing that doesn't need to be kept quaint is Mississippi's upcoming bicentennial celebration. Tish Williams, executive director of the chamber, and her team have been tasked with putting the program of the two-day coast celebration together.
"Our goal is to invite communities from throughout the state, visitors from throughout the country, to come and to celebrate Mississippi's cuisine, our culture, our history," said Williams.
That history includes the fact that Centennial Plaza in Gulfport was originally intended to host the first century celebration in the state.
"When World War I broke, that wasn't the time to have a party, so it was postponed. Then, right behind that came the big flu epidemic that wiped out hundreds of thousands of people throughout the country," said George Schloegel, chairman of the Bicentennial Celebration Committee.
Now the plans are pushing full steam ahead. Gulfport Mayor Billy Hewes is happy that Hancock County can be considered a leader in making it happen.
"This is a coast-wide, South Mississippi celebration. Centennial Plaza is an ideal spot because of the land mass that we have. Great acreage, a great piece of property, and it was where it was going to be so at least we're getting to it," said Hewes.
The bicentennial celebration is scheduled to kick off on the coast the weekend of April 1. Other celebrations are being planned for Oxford this summer and Jackson later in the year.